King County has agreed to pay $3.5 million to a Seattle man and his wife after the man suffered a permanent brain injury when he was thrown from his bicycle.
Lawyers for Jeffrey Totten and his wife Danielle Leavell said the county was at fault because it promoted Novelty Hill Road as a bike route but failed to maintain it in a safe condition.
Totten, an endurance athlete, was thrown from his bike when it struck a depression around a survey “monument” in the roadway Sept. 4, 2006. He was 31.
He has been in a hospital, a rehabilitation center and now a group home in Mount Vernon since the accident, which left him in a coma for seven months. The settlement will allow funds for round-the-clock care for the rest of his life, his attorneys said.
Physically, emotionally and cognitively disabled, Totten will never be able to work again. A Navy veteran, he bicycled daily from his home to the energy firm where he worked.
Totten was put in danger because of a lack of communication between the county Parks and Recreation Division, which promoted Novelty Hill Road in online and printed maps as a bike route, and the Road Services Division, which allowed a hole around the survey marker to grow deeper with successive paving jobs.
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